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Old 06-03-05, 07:46 AM   #1
Ebbtide
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Cleveland: Kindness soothes shattered family

Kindness soothes shattered family
Love supports pillar of Tremont'
Friday, June 03, 2005
Michael K. McIntyre
Plain Dealer Reporter

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Bernard Sokolowski III was as far away as he could be from the stick-to-the-ribs Tremont restaurant that bears his family name. Salisbury steak and smoked kielbasa did not call him as it did his father, who runs Sokolowski's University Inn along with his aunt and uncle.

Recently graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, still young and unattached, the 24-year-old was fulfilling a dream, cruising the winding roads of rural Italy on a bike he bought in Greece. It pulled a tiny trailer that carried all he possessed. He slept in his tent, or in hostels, and captured the aching beauty of the countryside with a helmet-mounted camera, producing evocative videos that he would marry to music -- from dance beats to arias -- and post on his Web site (www.bernardvideo.com) whenever he could find an Internet café. Life was so good, how would his parents ever get him back home?

"The roads are kind of crazy, but much safer than Athens, which was suicide," Bernard wrote in his last Internet posting, on April 17.

Read more:

http://www.cleveland.com/living/plai...120.xml&coll=2




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Bernard is recovering, slowly, and was moved out of the intensive care unit at MetroHealth on Thursday to a step-down unit. In the hospital, his sisters bring him videotapes - appropriately, "Miracle" was in the latest batch - to pass the time.

Doctors are worried most about his left leg now. He hasn't been able to move it. Though they are still focused on Bernard becoming well, money issues mount. The Sokolowskis are on the hook for more than $20,000 for the airlift. Their own travel costs came out of pocket, too. And big medical bills for Bernard are coming as well.

Enter friends of the Sokolowskis, the countless customers who have feasted on their food and friendship, the musicians who have jammed out rock 'n' roll and polka songs, the fellow business owners who know the Sokolowskis were committed to their neighborhood long before it was trendy, back when it wasn't Tremont, but just plain old South Side.

There's a $10-a-head polka benefit Sunday at the Holiday Inn in Independence, organized by the local polka community that often found itself enjoying spreads at Sokolowski's long after the joint had closed. Helenrae Budzilek, a regular customer at the restaurant and friend of the family, put it together. "This is what we do when somebody needs help."

The Tremont neighborhood is pitching in, too, with a June 29 fund-raiser at University Inn. Local restaurants - Theory, Lolita, Fat Cats, Sage and Fahrenheit - will fill the Sokolowski cafeteria line with their high-end specialties. Patrons will pay $100 apiece for the event, which begins at 5 p.m. and includes auction items such as local artwork, bottles of wine, chef dinners and restaurant gift certificates.
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Old 06-03-05, 08:06 AM   #2
Bob Gabele
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Hey Ebbtide:

I was born and raised in Cleveland but have been living in Ft. Lauderdale since '78. I have tons of friends up there still....

Bernard was doing something useful with his young life, not sitting around vegging out. Avid cyclists like us need to realize that this could happen to anyone. Being a former Clevelander, I am familiar witht he Polish community...a tight knit one of great people. It is clear to me that Bernard is not from a family that has a lot of resources and they must be struggling balancing the devastation of his injuries and the financial pressures put upon them.

Where do I send something to help out? If you don't know, don't worry, I'll figure it out. It would be a good idea though, to have an address posted here for everyone. If you don't have one, I will follow up.

Bob Gabele
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Old 06-03-05, 08:10 AM   #3
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This would probably suffice

Sokolowski’s University Inn
1202 University Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
216-771-9236
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Old 06-03-05, 08:25 AM   #4
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I just spoke with Bernard's Aunt. Donations can be made at any Key Bank location or sent to:

Key Bank
Bernard Sokolowski (Donation)
127 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44114
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Old 06-03-05, 08:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ebbtide
I just spoke with Bernard's Aunt. Donations can be made at any Key Bank location or sent to:

Key Bank
Bernard Sokolowski (Donation)
127 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44114
ThanX Eb, it's certainly a worthy cause that merits @ least a donation, and a prayer.
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Old 06-03-05, 10:53 AM   #6
Bob Gabele
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Yes, Thanks much for following up.

Remember, riders....there but for the Grace of the "Big Guy" goes you. Donation and a prayer are good ideas. Hopefully, more folks see this.
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